QDMA’S Kip Adams Participates in Workshop for the Mine Land Stewardship Initiative

   01.27.12

The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) recently participated in the Workshop for the Mine Land Stewardship Initiative in Lexington, Ky., to help ensure reclaimed mine lands are restored as quality wildlife habitats.

Kip Adams, a certified wildlife biologist and QDMA’s Director of Education and Outreach, was among several members of the conservation community who met with the coal industry to determine how the two sides might collaborate to improve conservation outcomes following mining operations. The Mine Land Stewardship Initiative (MLSI) is managed as a program of the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

“A tremendous amount of coal mining goes on around the country, especially in Appalachia,” Adams said. “A lot of citizens view it as being terrible from a wildlife perspective. The reality is that when properly reclaimed, former mining operation sites can be incredibly productive wildlife habitat. In most cases they provide more for wildlife post-mining than they did pre-mining. This workshop brought together mining and conservation organizations to talk specifically about the reclamation stage of mining — when you’re putting it all back — and how to do it properly so that we have good wildlife habitats.”

Adams said there are several examples of mining in the past where the reclaimed sites were not restored properly or restoration included planting non-native species that are not good for wildlife, such as fescue and sericea lespedeza. QDMA and other wildlife organizations have a tremendous opportunity to impact these habitats positively for wildlife populations, he said. Adams contributed to the workshop’s discussion in regards to white-tailed deer and deer hunters.

“There are nearly four times more deer hunters than the next most sought after species,” Adams noted. “With a lot of land being mined, there’s a really good chance those landowners are interested in deer hunting. For those who feel that the mining companies are destroying the land for wildlife, we can provide the knowledge and help so that they can reclaim the land properly for deer and other wildlife.

“At QDMA, we work with natural gas companies, large timber companies and a whole host of people, but we haven’t worked with the mining companies because we haven’t known them,” Adams added. “This was a good opportunity to meet those involved and explain all the benefits that QDMA can offer for the land they work on.”

Ultimately, the workshop proved to be more than just a meet-and-greet between miners and conservationists. Adams indicated the mining industry wants to develop a program similar to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) in which standards are set to benefit the public, recreation and wildlife.

“SFI is a set of standards that many timber companies follow to make sure they are managing forest lands sustainably,” Adams said. “The public understands they are doing what is right. That initiative was put together by members of the forestry community. The mining industry now wants to do a similar thing to make sure they are using the most common and most useful knowledge and research so that when they reclaim the land they do so using the best management practices to benefit wildlife or other recreational uses.”

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